By Iran Review
By Mohammad Farhad Koleini
Following recent efforts by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who apparently tried to depict an extremist and adventurist picture of Israel to the world and after his hostile positions on Iran were mostly ignored by the public opinion inside and outside of Israel, it seems that his government has gone down with a morbid sense of incredibility. This issue is even evident in the statements made by various Israeli officials. They have announced that nobody is seemingly paying any attention to Israel’s viewpoints and the indifference to Tel Aviv is not limited to the United States. Despite Israel’s all negative efforts, Iran has successfully organized and held one of the biggest international gatherings on its soil. On the other hand, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, that Iran is totally entitled to use the nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while emphasizing that every effort should be made to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. As such, she clearly proved to the Israeli statesmen that their efforts against Iran have been to no avail and US position on Iran’s nuclear energy program has not changed.
According to some Western news agencies, even one of the closest advisors to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has noted that serious infighting within the political establishment of the Israeli regime over a military strike against Iran may finally culminate in the assassination and murder of the senior Israeli politicians by domestic opposition forces. A senior member of the Israel’s ruling Likud Party has made an explicit reference to this possibility in a recent interview with Maariv newspaper. He noted that under the current circumstances in Israeli society and politics (over Iran) it is quite possible that people may want to take irrational measures like assassination of the Israeli leaders. He also pointed to the case of Yigal Amir; the Israeli who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, on the assumption that he was saving Israel.
On the other hand, the US Vice President Joseph Biden took a shot at the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, during an address to white workers in York, Pennsylvania, just recently. He added that Romney sought to wage wars on Syria and Iran which may cause further delay in the US economic development at a time that the country is gradually getting out of one of the direst economic recessions it has ever experienced. Analysts believe that the main addressee of Biden’s speech and his negation of warmongering in the Middle East was not only Mitt Romney, but also politicians in Tel Aviv. All these cases clearly prove that the viewpoints and positions of the United States and Tel Aviv regime on political red lines are totally at odds and their understanding of two key issues of ‘nuclear threshold and ‘nuclear capability’ are poles apart. The US believes that gaining nuclear capability is by no means tantamount to Iran’s decision for building nuclear weapons. Today, the West is following a scrupulous, accurate and professional approach to Iran which is a result of the fact that Iran has no interest in building nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also noted in many of its reports on Iran’s nuclear energy program that there has been no diversion in Tehran’s nuclear program toward military purposes and this has been the common denominator of agency’s reports on Iran.
At any rate, what we see today is that the United States is distancing itself from Israel’s policies on Iran. On the other hand, there are major differences between Washington and Tel Aviv when it comes to strategic estimate of Iran’s will. The approach taken by the Western countries, especially the United States, to strategic rationality in Iran is quite different from the approach that Netanyahu’s government is following in order to keep his Cabinet as well as his policies alive. The intelligence community of the Israeli regime has noted in its reports that geopolitical changes in the region pose serious threats to the Israeli regime and should be among Tel Aviv’s highest priorities. The Israeli intelligence community also believes that changes in Egypt’s foreign policy after election of the new President Mohamed Morsi and his inclination toward creation of a new balance in regional and international political milieus, in addition to gradual termination of the ongoing security crisis in Syria can bolster a sense of revenge against Israel in the region. As a result, such changes have also been enumerated among the Zionist regime’s high priorities. They think that in case of a conflict threatening Israel’s security, Tel Aviv can take advantage of its hidden nuclear arsenal and, by doing so, answer to any kind of security situation which may possibly face it. However, they ignore the fact that the reality on the ground can be quite different and lead to totally different conditions compared to what they imagine.
What is currently happening inside the political structure of Israel is emergence of wide gaps among political community, the public opinion, intelligence community, as well as past senior professional politicians over Iran’s nuclear issue. Therefore, there is not even a simple consensus about an accurate estimate of Iran nuclear issue anywhere on the horizon. This is why many sessions of the Israeli intelligence community are simply canceled before they are even convened. Of course, the Israeli officials have told the media that the reason for cancellation of the sessions is the recent leak of intelligence from a session. It is also for this reason that the Israeli regime is trying through media hype to impose its priority threats on the United States and turn the table in its own favor by implementing certain scenarios. Today, Mr. Obama is witnessing an anti-Obama campaign under the flag of Netanyahu’s government. This is totally obvious to the US government. The high cost of supporting the Zionist regime has turned into a real problem for the United States. The Americans have so far tried not to bring that problem into the open. During recent weeks, certain articles have been in circulation in prominent American print media with their major theme being why nobody in the United States talks about Israel’s nuclear weapons. These are, in fact, subtle warnings which Washington is indirectly giving Tel Aviv in order to make the Israeli regime mend its ways. There have been reports that the US Ambassador in Tel Aviv Daniel B. Shapiro has used strong words to warn the Israeli officials that they should observe diplomatic decorum and moral considerations.
Apart from such issues, intelligence estimates not only focus on priority threats, but chances of success of a possible attack to deter Iran’s nuclear energy program is also of importance to them. The Americans have a very clear estimate in this regard. They believe that Israelis lack necessary capabilities to totally destroy Iran’s nuclear sites through a military attack. For example, when it comes to Fordow nuclear site, the Zionist regime’s weapon capability is far from what is needed to destroy that site. Therefore, they understand this issue and believe that threats posed by the Israeli regime against Iran will get nowhere on the basis of conventional weapons. Of course, the Americans may possess certain weapons which enjoy high destruction capacity. This is a totally different issue. As a result of these problems, there are heated debates both within the Zionist regime and inside the US government about the degree of success of such an attack. They still do not know the answer to the question that what would be the cost of such adventurism against Iran? Would it lead to a full-scale war which would engulf the entire region? Is damaging Iran’s nuclear capability the one and only goal? Will it prompt Iran to enter a totally new stage of strategic response? These are very serious and sensitive questions which are certainly taken into account by professional political and intelligence officials who are aware of how dreadful Iran’s response to a possible attack will be.
On the other hand, another important question is what may happen after an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Americans believe that if such an attack takes place, it can only cause a temporary delay in Iran’s nuclear energy program and apart from that, it will cause no other change in Iran’s program. Therefore, they believe that the Israeli regime is just firing blank cartridges and pursues no specific goal in this regard. As a result, a major point about strategic debates is that strategic estimates, approaches and choices are three different issues. Today, we are talking about strategic estimate with the final goal being to know in what direction the strategic estimate of the Zionist regime is moving in view of official as well as undeclared and half-finished sessions which have been going on in Israel in recent days. At present, the US intelligence community has a high potential to disagree with Israel and Israel is trying to use its intelligence cards and add manipulated intelligence in order to change the final estimates and make the West change its policy toward Iran.
It seems that the Tel Aviv is also trying to bring some Western countries in line with its goals in order to make an even greater impression on the US government and bolster its positions against Iran by forging a new alliance. This position has been probably taken with the green light of the Zionist lobby in Canada and perhaps this is why the Canadian government has suddenly decided to close its embassy in Tehran without anything new had happened between the two countries to justify the measure.
Apart from this issue, the French government has also taken a correct position on Iran. The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has officially announced that attacking Iran by the Zionist regime of Israel will be a grave mistake. When such viewpoints are heard from Paris and Washington, it proves that the Atlantic alliance is seriously opposed to the conduct of Israel in the Middle East. Therefore, nobody has paid serious attention to aimless and fictitious positions of the Zionist regime against Iran. Not only in the public opinion of the region, regional countries, international milieu, and even the regime’s own society, but even among staunch supporters of Israel there is currently a wide gap and profound strategic differences over Iran.
On the other hand, some experts have raised another question: how capable Israel is of launching a long-term military engagement? Can Israel withstand a possibly long war after its possible attack on Iran? Here, most political experts have similar views. They say that the first concern is Iran’s ability to respond to Zionist regime’s possible assault, and they believe that Tehran’s ability to do so is quite high. At the same time, Israel is not capable of giving any close response to Iran’s attack; that is, it cannot use a third country’s soil to engage with Iran. At the same time, Iran is capable of doing that and it was just recently that the Syrian officials in Damascus warned Israel against an Iran attack. They announced that Syria can use its missile system to take the Zionist regime many years back by devastating its infrastructures. This was apart from stern warning that was issued by the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Seyed Hassan Nasrollah.
In addition, the reality on the ground is such that Israel cannot withstand even a medium-term military engagement. It was proven beyond any doubt during 22-day war against Gaza and the 33-day war with Lebanon that how fast the Israeli military’s power is worn out when it is engaged in real combat. During those wars, the whole world saw how incapable Tel Aviv was of managing a long-term war. Therefore, when Seyed Hassan Nasrollah announced that in the next war, Hezbollah will not appear merely defensive, but will also take offensive action, he was actually conveying a clear message and depicting a different strategy in order to determine the level of engagement. As a result of the above facts, any adventurous attack on Iran will lead to widespread chaos in the whole region. In view of its open threats and official statements, Israel will be the main party to be blamed for that situation and the West should correctly understand this. The West should stop just advising the Zionist regime and regulate the conduct of Netanyahu’s government through practical and tangible measures because if left on his own, he may cause the situation in the region to get totally out of hand.
At any rate, the issue of being able to engage in a near war or a remote conflict is currently a matter of high significance in intelligence and military debates because it can clarify accurate coordinates of the situation. From this angle, it seems that all countries should do their best to warn the political leaders of Israel against the consequences of an Iran attack. With these considerations in mind, some intelligence officers of the Zionist regime have clearly noted that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is currently out of the question. They have also noted that Israel should carefully mull the consequences of such an attack for the next 10 years.
Author: Mohammad Farhad Koleini, Former Iranian Ambassador to Armenia & Expert on Strategic Issues
Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD)